Roger Stone claims he’s a ‘different man’ as Elon Musk welcomes him back to Twitter

Roger Stone, the infamous Republican political consultant and Donald Trump ally, is distancing himself from old tweets after Elon Musk reinstated his Twitter account.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Stone thanked the Twitter owner for removing a block that stemmed from a 2017 incident during which the Trump loyalist had threatened CNN hosts.

“I am gratified for the reinstatement of my account on Twitter and am grateful to Elon Musk for his commitment to fairness and free speech,” the self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” wrote. “God bless America and thank you, Jesus.”

Later, on his own podcast, Mr Stone appeared to attempt to apologise for his past conduct on the social media platform.

“I am a different person today,” he began while asking for forgiveness for his archived tweets, without citing which specific posts he was atoning for. “This was before my faith walk. This is before I was redeemed in the blood of the crucifixion of Jesus.”

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Mr Stone was booted from Twitter after an expletive-filled tirade calling for CNN anchor Jake Tapper to be “very severely punished.”

The political operative is the latest controversial figure that Musk has allowed back on Twitter.

In November, Twitter allowed Donald Trump to regain his account, following a ban for inciting violence related to his rhetoric around the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Thus far, however, the former president has stuck to his Truth Social Twitter clone instead, where its looser content rules have allowed him to continue making controversial online comments, including a post calling for the termination of the US Constitution.

Researchers warned that Mr Musk is poised to allow a flood of right-wing content back onto Twitter.

“Effectively, trust and safety and content moderation on Twitter are dead under Elon Musk,” according to Sam Woolley, head of the Propaganda Research Lab in the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth. “Twitter has taken … a lot of time and put in a lot of effort over the last several years to respond to the problems of disinformation and propaganda on its platforms. What we have now is a completely confusing environment that Musk contends is free speech for everyone but which is really an informational dictatorship that prioritizes Musk’s whims over any kind of systematic governance of the platform.”

Mr Musk also reinstated at least 11 accounts belonging to prominent far-right and anti-trans influencers, including Jordan Peterson and right-wing satirical media company the Babylon Bee, which were both suspended for misgendering transgender people.

Twitter also restored an account for activist group Project Veritas, despite its ban “for repeated violations of Twitter’s private information policy,” as well as the personal account belonging to far-right Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene had been suspended for flagrant violations of the platform’s policies against spreading Covid-19 misinformation.